INFRA S.r.l., a private company with 187 employees, started
operating in 1973 manufacturing photoelectric sensors (photoelectric barriers)
and industrial control parts for automation.(prodcom code: 3330 - instrument
for measurements industrial sector - Design and assembly of industrial
process control equipment).
Since 1986 the manufacturing of sensors has become the main activity of
the company with increasingly different types of models: in 1985 we developed
the optical proximity sensors, in 1988 the first inductive sensor family
was introduced and in 1990 the capacitive sensors were developed. All
these sensors make use of the existing technology, namely discrete analogue
At the start of the AE, the company's production includes different types
of sensors in several realisations : Inductive, Capacitive, Photoelectric,
Magnetic, own development and customer specific applications.
The main customers of company are manufacturers of different types of
machines (textile, printing, labelling, packaging).
The main application fields are: Automation, Packaging machines, Labelling
machines, movement control of goods, distance measurement.
In this project, an enhanced photoelectric sensor type using the triangular
measurement method has been developed using a microcontroller and a PSD
(Position Sensitive Detector). The product to be improved presented some
negatives technical features that had to be overcome for preventing the
decreasing of market share add new functionalities like auto-test and
communication capability actually not available.
The advantage of the new sensor as compared to our existing photoelectronic
sensors can be resumed in: exact distance measurement, measure independently
of the colour and surface of the object, analogue distance measurement
and interference free measurement (from surrounding light conditions),
These improvements represented the main objectives of the AE.
The project duration was of 9 months and the AE budget was 42 KEUR. The
industrialisation cost are about 42Keur. The expected payback period is
13 months. For the estimation of the ROI we considered a lifetime of the
product of 4 years as in the case of our standard products: it corresponds
to 400%. These values have been calculated without industrialisation costs.
Already market requests for other applications (persons detection) indicates
that internal replication will follow in a short time.
Our company has learned to work with microcontrollers and we have now
also a technical staff of improved technical experience. Due to the nature
of the application, programming in assembler language was mainly used.
Initialisation has been done in "C", a very slow language for real-time
applications with the chosen microcontroller.
|You can also benefit from microelectronics
Microcontroller technology provided Infra s.r.l. with the means of improving
its products and enhancing its market position. You can also achieve significant
benefits by acquiring the right microelectronics technology and utilising
it in your product or manufacturing process. You can get help from FUSE
to realise this.
FUSE is a technology transfer programme, funded by the European Commission to stimulate the wider use of microelectronics technologies by European enterprises to increase their competitiveness and enhance their economic growth. The demonstrator described here is one of many examples in the public FUSE portfolio covering the whole spectrum of microelectronics technologies and spanning a wide range of applications and industry sectors.
FUSE provides you with:
- Best practice in acquiring specific microelectronics technologies and conducting full development projects through the FUSE portfolio of real life demonstrator documents.
- Local training and expert support to plan your innovation realistically and help you conduct your project successfully.
Further information and support relating to this and other demonstrators can be obtained from the addresses below.